Issue 8 (April 18)
NIH Releases New Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released its most recent Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA). The plan is intended to improve diversity and inclusion within the agency and the biomedical research community and builds off of stakeholder feedback collected last year (see previous COSSA coverage). NIH identifies key stages of implementation in the strategic plans’ framework, including the need to encourage the agency and community to become more people-centered and improve diversity and inclusion within their operations, workforce, and research. To this end, the NIH says it plans to implement sustainable practices to improve representation within biomedical and behavioral research in addition to prioritizing research focused on underrepresented populations.
In addition, the NIH has identified the need to improve transparency and communication, create change, and use data more effectively. The NIH is seeking to improve their ability to communicate with the research community and broaden their reach to find potential solutions from different populations. The NIH also plans to fully embrace DEIA and use data collection and sharing to hold the agency accountable to the public. The full report can be found here and a summary can be found here.
Social Science Advocacy Day is Tuesday, April 25!
Next Tuesday, April 25, is Social Science Advocacy Day. More than 50 advocates from across the country will be on Capitol Hill to urge increased funding support for social and behavioral science research. Watch your inbox and COSSA’s Action Center to learn how you can engage from home on April 25. Follow all the Advocacy Day coverage on Twitter @cossadc and using the hashtags #cossa2023 and #whysocialscience.
Budget Season in Full Swing
Lawmakers returned this week from its two-week spring recess and immediately turned their attention to the budget; specifically, what to do about the approaching debt ceiling and whether or at what level to cap spending on discretionary programs for fiscal year (FY) 2024 (see previous coverage). While fights continue on these higher-level negotiations, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will be meeting this week to discuss the FY 2024 budget proposals for several federal science agencies. The Senate Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Subcommittee is holding a hearing on April 18 featuring leadership from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA; the House CJS Subcommittee will hold its own NSF budget hearing on April 19. Also on April 19, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Subcommittee will hear from leaders from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on “Protecting American Taxpayers: Highlighting Efforts to Protect Against Federal Waste, Fraud, and Mismanagement,” featuring a panel of Inspectors General from NSF, NASA, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, and EPA. Check back for COSSA’s reporting on these and other relevant hearings.
JASON Releases Report on NSF’s Pending Research on Research Security Program
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has commissioned a report by JASON, the independent scientific and national security advisory body, on NSF’s proposed “Research on Research Security” program. This program has been in development as part of the push towards securing the U.S. research enterprise over the past few years, and is intended to provide funding to scientifically examine aspects of research security (see previous coverage). The JASON report aims to consider what this program might look like at NSF and how it would impact research security policy throughout the federal government. Notably, the JASON report states that the “social sciences will be important for a successful research program” and that JASON “strongly encourages collaborative efforts of social scientists and researchers in the natural sciences.”
The report offers several recommendations for NSF as it develops its Research on Research Security program:
Avoid creating a reputation of racial profiling or using the research security program to disadvantage anyone based on ethnicity or nationality, aiming for an open science environment.
- Consider anonymous access of data, especially confidential data at universities and companies.
- Emphasize research on training of researchers on risks in international collaborations.
- Encourage collaboration with international organizations concerned with research security.
- Encourage cross-discipline collaboration between social scientists and other STEM researchers.
- Work closely with STEM professional societies to disseminate training materials.
- Collaborate with other Federal research agencies to create a protected database on research security breaches at U.S. institutions.
The report is available on the NSF website.
NSF Accepting Proposals for New GRANTED Equity and Diversity Program
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting proposals for the Growing Research Access for Nationally Transformative Equity and Diversity (GRANTED) program, a new initiative within NSF’s Broadening Participation efforts aiming to provide funding for strategies to address inequalities and challenges within the research enterprise. The GRANTED program may support research and development on inequalities but may also support administrative and infrastructure needs to achieve equity in research. Proposals for the GRANTED program should center around at least one of the following main themes:
- Enhancing practices and processes within the research enterprise;
- Developing and strengthening human capital within the research enterprise;
- Translating effective practices related to the research enterprise into diverse institutional and organizational contexts through partnerships with professional societies and organizations.
The GRANTED Program holds weekly office hours every Wednesday to address questions and concerns. The program does not have a specific deadline; however, proposals are encouraged to be submitted as soon as possible to be reviewed for the current fiscal year. More information is available on the program’s website.
NASEM Announces Climate Crossroads Initiative to Address Climate Change
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) have announced the new Climate Crossroads, an initiative intended to expand their climate change research to provide diverse solutions to climate change issues. NASEM is currently seeking experts in the following fields to serve on the initiative’s Advisory Committee: climate research, policy, communications, community engagement, fundraising, and strategic development. Submissions are due May 1. NASEM will host the Climate Crossroads 2023 Summer Partner’s Meeting on July 11-12 at the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington, D.C.
NASEM Releases Interactive Webpage for ADEI in STEMM Report, Announces Workshop
As previously reported, the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) released their report on Advancing Antiracism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ADEI) in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine (STEMM) Organizations in February of this year. The report identified structural barriers to minoritized groups’ access to STEMM fields and outlined several recommendations as to how the scientific community can combat those barriers and better implement ADEI principles.
To further the reach and understanding of the report, NASEM has now produced an interactive webpage which explores the report’s findings and provides exploratory functions for learning more about each subject. The webpage’s informative pie charts, interactive cards and other visual displays of report findings and recommendations are available for viewing on the NASEM website.
Additionally, NASEM is hosting a workshop on May 1-2 to highlight examples of how organizations have successfully ensured the inclusion of underrepresented groups into Higher Education student cohorts and overall workforces. This impact-driven workshop will be held virtually, and the agenda with the accompanying zoom link can be found here.